What goes down your drain:
Reduce microbeads – they’re everywhere! In toothpaste, skin care and cleaning agents. If you can avoid using products with these tiny bits of plastic – great – because they wreak havoc on the health of salmon and other wildlife.
Medication – prescription or otherwise – don’t give it to a salmon by flushing it down the toilet or the drain. Give it back to a pharmacy. There’s a handy guide here: https://recycling.metrovancouver.org/
And about those storm drains?
Unlike what you empty down your drains at home, whatever goes down a storm drain isn’t treated at all.
So here’s what to keep in mind when you’re out and about:
Your car: keep your tires properly inflated and maintained to prevent toxins from being washed into storm drains. Same goes for car fluids – make sure your car doesn’t leak. We’ve got a whole story on the astonishing effects rain runoff from city streets can have on urban salmon.
Your dog: Whatever you don’t pick up gets washed into waterways where it can be nasty for salmon.
If you see garbage being thrown into a creek bed or dumped by a river – in Vancouver, there’s an app for that. Streamkeeper groups make use of it – and you can too> https://vancouver.ca/vanconnect.aspx
Plus, you can participate in the Great Canadian Shore Clean-up in any one of a number of ways.
There’s More You Can Do:
In the City of Vancouver, most of the actual salmon streams – numbering over 50 – were lost to urban development decades ago. A few remain such as Still Creek and Musqueam Creek with ongoing efforts to help them thrive, and a few others such as Tatlow Creek are being painstakingly restored.
However, in surrounding municipalities you can visit – and even volunteer with organizations connected with local salmon-bearing streams. These groups do everything from restoring salmon habitat to running local hatcheries. In Coquitlam there is the Hoy/Scott Watershed Society which also hosts the Salmon Come Home event every fall; and in Port Coquitlam there’s the Maple Creek Watershed Streamkeepers Society.
Using less water can also really makes a difference, not just for salmon but for cities too.
Check out the fantastic video and fun facts pulled together by the CBC’s Uytae Lee below. Yes, it is worth the next 6 minutes of your time!